COVID-19: South African Government debunks report of relief funds for farmers

The South African Government has debunked reports that it has earmarked relief funds to appreciate the effort of farmers during the mandatory lockdown occasioned earlier this year by the COVID-19.

The Limpopo Department of Employment urged the general public to disregard the reports, stating that no funds of such have been set aside for farmers.

It explained that the rumour began after inspectors carried out examinations on several farmlands around the Phalaborwa and Mopani District Municipalities.

Owing to the false report, the department added that the workers threatened to go on strike after demanding for risk allowance to recompense them for the works done during the lockdown.

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Chief Inspector, Phaswane Tladi, said: “In terms of the current regulations, the department only has the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) that was made available for employers and employees who could not operate during the lockdown”.

According to him, some of the farmers demanded payment of risk allowances for risking their lives even when the government declared a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

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He said the department cannot interfere in such dealings as they cannot force the employee not to ask for incentives or the employers to pay such benefits.

Tladi, however, advised farmworkers to enquire from appropriate authorities in cases of misunderstanding in terms of activities.

He said, “We urge workers to refrain from participating in such unprotected strikes that may lead to loss of employment.

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“Our officials are available and ready to guide them even before they get themselves into unprotected strikes based on hearsay and rumour”.

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